Computers Make Strides in Recognizing Speech
The ability of machines to respond to spoken commands. Speech recognition enables “hands-free” control of various electronic devices—a particular boon to many disabled persons—and the automatic creation of “print-ready” dictation. Among the earliest applications for speech recognition were automated telephone systems and medical dictation software. It is still frequently used for dictation, for querying databases, and for giving commands to computer-based systems, especially in professions that rely on specialized vocabularies. It is used to improve enterprise efficiency.
Now if you ask anything in front of a TFT monitors and it will be automatically answered by a virtual person, i.e., computers now can learn to listen, and some talk back too. It’s certainly smarter than you think. Artificial intelligence technology, especially computer recognition of speech, is moving into the mainstream. The prospect, according to scientists and economists, is not only that artificial intelligence will transform the way humans and machines communicate and collaborate, but will also eliminate millions of jobs, create many others and change the nature of work and daily routines. The number of American doctors using speech software to record and transcribe accounts of patient visits and treatments has more than tripled in the past three years to 150,000. Today, the software transcribes all kinds of medical terminology letter perfect, doctors say. Meanwhile, translation software being tested by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is fast enough to keep up with some simple conversations.
A host of companies — AT&T, Microsoft, Google and startups — are investing in services that hint at the concept of machines that can act on spoken commands. They go well beyond voice-enabled Internet search. In cars, too, speech recognition systems have vastly improved.. The real issue with artificial intelligence, as with any technology, is how it will be used. Automation is a remarkable tool of efficiency and convenience. Using an A.T.M. to make cash deposits and withdrawals beats standing in line to wait for a teller. If an automated voice system in a call center can answer a question, the machine is a better solution than lingering on hold for a customer service agent. “It’s not human intelligence, but it’s getting to be very good machine intelligence,” said Andries van Dam, a professor of computer science at Brown University. “There are going to be all sorts of errors and problems, and you need human checks and balances, but having artificial intelligence is way better than not having it.” Voice enabled web browsing is a new application in internet accessibility which is slowly catching in the international arena (Like Skype) . It enables you to browse the web, via browser plug-in and other software, using your voice. Similar systems can be used to control the pc itself.
Recently, IBM has declared that very soon will completely revamp its voice-recognition technology strategy, focusing more on delivering core technologies than on individual products.